For the Student Spotlight opening of 2019, we bring you Jimena Torres (Jay)! Jay started pole fitness as a part of a personal healing journey, with the intention of building emotional and physical strength, as well as confidence.
She began attending Pole 1 classes with Aradia Fitness Calgary in 2015 and has progressed to being a regular Pole Sport Organization competitor as well as local performer, both on and off the pole. Jay has discovered her true identity on stage, placing fourth this year out of 11 in the Entertainment category at PSO Canada West in Vancouver in September 2018. She has been entertaining audiences all over Calgary with her drag performances and pole skills.
Aside from her pole and aerial skills, Jay has the ability to make anyone she encounters in our studio feel absolutely welcome. Jay has brought so much energy and love to our studio, and we treasure her as part of our family.
Thank you, Jay!
1. Where are you from?
I’m originally from Lima, Peru, but I’ve lived all over. We left Peru and moved to Belgium when I was two, then Germany when I was four, and I’ve lived in Canada since 2006!
2. Tell us about your life outside of pole – what are your favourite things?
My biggest passion in life is makeup, and I began my career as a makeup artist three years ago. I also started performing drag back in October, and I’ve fallen in love with both the art form and the community of performers within it. I pretty much love anything creative and I find that through drag I’ve been able to combine my makeup artistry and my love for dance!
3. What do you love the most about pole? How does it make you feel?
What I love most about pole is the confidence that it gives me. I don’t hide the fact that I struggled with a restrictive eating disorder for years (while I was already doing pole) and so oftentimes people ask me if I found pole fitness helpful or harmful when it came to my body image and recovery. And, while at points anything involving big mirrors was challenging, I know without a doubt that pole played a crucial part in me getting to a place where I love my body not only for what it looks like but for all that it can do! The community is extremely positive and there are pole dancers of all different shapes and sizes doing amazing things, it’s quite uplifting!
4.) What is your favourite pole or aerial move?
My favourite pole move changes constantly, but I’d say at the moment is the Ayesha. I find it quite fun cartwheeling into it! I think most people at the studio know that my absolute favourite classes are the spin pole classes, and I know that’s technically more than one class but I love all levels of it! I just feel so free when I’m on spin, it’s hard to describe!
5.) What motivates you to keep coming to class?
There are two main things that keep me motivated to come to classes regularly: the competitions/showcases and the people. I absolutely love creating, so competitions force me to put together new combinations, dance moves, costumes and themes and so I find motivation to keep training and doing the more dancey classes too. As for the people, I’m friends with a lot of my fellow polers and I always look forward to seeing my instructors and catching up with them on everything!
6.) When did you start coming to Aradia Fitness?
I actually took my first ever pole class at an Aradia Fitness in Ontario back in 2013. Although I didn’t stay very long, once I moved to Calgary I decided to take pole back up (about 4 years ago) and while I’ve had to take a few breaks here and there due to my health I’ve never actually left (and never will – you’ll catch me at a pole competition at age 75, I’m not kidding).
7.) What surprised you about pole and aerial fitness?
What surprised me the most about pole dance and fitness is how many styles of pole there are. I think most people think of just exotic when it comes to pole, and while I love a good exotic class, I also love doing flips, contemporary, low flow, you name it. It’s equal parts art and sport and I find that there’s something there for everyone.
8.) Why should someone join Aradia Fitness and start their pole and aerial journey today?
I really don’t know where to start with this one. Start pole today because you want to feel empowered. Do it because you’re sick of the gym and want a way to work out that doesn’t feel like an obligation. Or do it because you need a community, a family of people that are supportive and will continue to challenge you. Pole dance because you were made to feel less than and want to prove everyone wrong. Do it to relieve stress. Or to be able to express yourself after a long day at the office. I don’t care what your reason is, just do it. You’ll thank me later, I swear!